Michigan Football: 5 Positions with the Weakest Depth Chart
The Michigan football program has done a miraculous job of rebuilding several positions that were not recruited heavily during the Rich Rodriguez era, but head coach Brady Hoke and his staff still have five positions with little to no depth at this point in the offseason.
The Wolverines have a rising star in quarterback Devin Gardner, however, will there be anyone capable of running the offense if he were to miss some time? Is there enough depth in the trenches to withstand the physicality of Big Ten Conference play?
Those questions and much more are answered in this slideshow as we examine which five positions Michigan has the least amount of depth at entering the 2013 season.
There will not be much drama at the quarterback position entering the 2013 season, but if incumbent starter Devin Gardner were to suffer an injury the Michigan Wolverines would be in dire straits.
Gardner is primed to have a breakout year for the Wolverines. The 6'4", 203-pounder threw for 1,219 yards, racked up 18 total touchdowns and only tossed five interceptions after taking the reins from injured signal-caller Denard Robinson on Nov. 3.
Beyond Gardner, though, Michigan has very little experience at the position.
Rising redshirt sophomore Russell Bellomy looked completely overmatched in his only appearance that did not come at the tail end of a blowout. Bellomy completed a mere three-of-16 pass attempts and threw three interceptions in a 23-9 loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
There is no telling what kind of mental scars Bellomy would need to overcome in order to succeed if Gardner had to miss any extended time.
Incoming freshman Shane Morris is likely going to check in at No. 3 on the depth chart this season. It would be best for Morris to redshirt and learn the offense for his first year as a Wolverine.
Michigan fans will be holding their breath every time Gardner takes a big hit, because there is very little depth behind him.
The Michigan Wolverines have two excellent slot receivers in Jeremy Gallon and Drew Dileo, however, there is very little established talent on the outside, which is a major concern heading into the 2013 campaign.
Rising sophomore wideout Amara Darboh is the early favorite to become Michigan's primary deep threat in the passing game. Darboh played primarily on special teams as a true freshman, but his circus catch during bowl practices has to have the coaching staff a little giddy to get him lined up near the sideline.
Darboh may impress this season, or underwhelm. There is not enough evidence yet to make an assumption.
If Darboh does indeed struggle with the physical cornerbacks in the Big Ten Conference, the Wolverines do not exactly have a wealth of talent behind him on the depth chart.
Jehu Chesson spent his freshman year redshirting and is likely a year away from making significant contributions. Fifth-year senior Joe Reynolds is in the mix for the starting job as well, though, he only hauled in three receptions for 22 yards last year.
Even if one of these three receivers emerges as a consistent target in the passing game, Michigan will be short on depth when it comes to deep threats.
After spending much of the 2012 season at defensive end, senior Jibreel Black is set to be a stater on the interior of the line for the upcoming season. The Michigan Wolverines are going to need Black to stay healthy as well, because there is nobody with any game experience backing him up.
Black notched 20 tackles, 5.5 were for a loss, and three sacks last year. Michigan will be looking for slightly better numbers from Black in 2013 with the move to defensive tackle.
Behind Black on the depth chart will be redshirt freshman Willie Henry. The former 3-star prospect will undoubtedly earn some reps in the Wolverines' rotation of defensive linemen, but inexperience is going to hold him back a bit in Big Ten play.
Maurice Hurst Jr. is going to be a candidate for a redshirt as a true freshman, which is going to limit the depth at defensive tackle even more.
The Wolverines will need their top two defensive tackles to stay healthy for the upcoming season in order to avoid a disaster in the trenches.
For the most part, the Michigan Wolverines will feature a veteran secondary this season, though, one position of concern at the moment is free safety.
Sophomore Jarrod Wilson is expected to take over for Thomas Gordon at free safety. Gordon will likely shift to strong safety and replace departing senior Jordan Kovacs in order to free up a starting spot for Wilson.
The Akron, Ohio product spent all of last season behind Gorgon at free safety, but Wilson did appear in all 13 games.
Redshirt junior Josh Furman, who has only seen action in two games at safety, and incoming freshman Dymonte Thomas should round out the two-deep. This will leave the Wolverines with a lot of inexperience at the position.
Wilson's speed will give him a chance to be an All-Big Ten safety, but the lack of game repetitions behind him does not bode well for Michigan heading into the 2013 season.
There is no position on the Michigan Wolverines' depth chart for next season more concerning than center.
Last year's starter Elliot Mealer is out of eligibility, so redshirt sophomores Jack Miller and Graham Glasgow will be battling for the top spot in the middle of the offensive line.
The two have combined to appear in just 11 games over the course of their careers, and there are not going to be any other options aside from Miller and Glasgow if incoming freshman Patrick Kugler redshirts.
Miller is the top candidate to win the starting job come August, though, there will not be very much expected out of him in 2013.